Inspired by a magician named Shiny Chariot, the lively Atsuko ‘Akko’ Kagari enters Luna Nova Academy with the dream of one day becoming as cool and great as her idol.
Little Witch Academia (TV series)
Producer: Studio TRIGGER
Air Dates: 2017
SubVersion Available: Yes
Dub Version Available: Yes
What You Need to Know:
Little Witch Academia (LWA for short) is a TV remake of the two movies of the same name produced by Studio TRIGGER – the same team behind the popular Kill la Kill anime series. The 2nd movie, in particular, gained fame for having high caliber quality animation via crowd-funding budget of over $600,000 (4x the initial goal). Two manga series of LWA are released by Shueisha (the publisher behind Dragon Ball). A video game, based on the anime, is to be released for the PlayStation 4.
What You’ll Find Out:
Luna Nova Academy is a prestigious school in England where female students from around the world gather to learn the ways of magic. A young Japanese girl by the name of Atsuko Kagari (nicknamed ‘Akko’) is determined to enter the school to learn magic, after being inspired by the performance of a witch named Shiny Chariot. Despite not coming from a family of magic-users, Akko is dauntless in overcoming the challenges of being a student of the academy, and to fulfill her dream of becoming a witch.
What Just Happened?
The TV remake can be divided into two major arcs. The first 13 episodes is a series of misadventures for protagonist Akko as she tries to master magic despite her less than standard results. These episodes range from the adorable to the outrageous, with several references and memes here and there. It is also in these 13 episodes that voice actress Megumi Han really shows off her talent as Akko, being able to express several types of emotions that fit Akko’s character perfectly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Another thing I enjoyed in the first half is Akko’s virtually unyielding spirit and motivation. She is that determined to master the art of magic no matter what. It’s quite inspirational to see her keep going in spite of the hardship she went through. You could easily interpret this in a variety of ways, such as your religious faith, success in the business world, etc.
When we reach the second half, things changed up as Akko gets a dose of reality that yes, she has an unyielding spirit, but that’s not enough for her to learn and master magic. She has to work really hard to achieve her goal. It is also in the second half when show’s plot finally reveals itself. Akko is given the Shiny Rod, which its true power of restoring magic to the world can only be unlocked if she is able to recite the 7 Lost Words and their hidden meanings. So the second half has Akko figuring out the Lost Words, along the way interacting and forming bonds with other characters.
To veer off for a moment, the way the final conflict is handled is something that I’ve been discussing over when it comes to another series – Dragon Ball. This is because both feature the concept of Yin and Yang, Light and Darkness, Good and Evil. Most fans of Dragon Ball firmly believed that the fights within Dragon Ball are settled by whoever has the strongest power. For me, especially with the current Dragon Ball Super series, it is less about who has the stronger power and more of the concept of Yin and Yang and how these two forces interact with each other. This concept is the forefront of the final conflict in Little Witch Academia
Storywise, I really can’t find anything wrong with the way Studio TRIGGER wrote the series. Personally, I was a bit disappointed when the show took a serious turn, but it served a purpose and was executed perfectly. The ending is done the way TRIGGER is always known for, with the way they handled their previous works like Kill la Kill, and even going as far as their years under Studio Gainax with Gunbuster, and with incredible animation to boot. I am very glad how everyone gathered up and interact with each other, making me want the series, should it continue, go to an episodic format with everyone having their own misadventures.
To put it in another way, I would like Studio TRIGGER to write an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, or the Equestria Girls spin-off, as that’s how Little Witch Academia ultimately ends up being – the girls get together, learn the value of friendship, and their faith in magic. Just like My Little Pony.
I understand that Little Witch Academia is not for everyone because its overall presentation is more towards the Disney-like crowd. This is in spite that the show is more aimed at the anime fanbase as it aired late nights in Japan. But those who don’t see this as their cup of tea are missing out on a great storyline, great animation, great comedy, and it has a very likable cast and great vocal talent.
Not only is this series a contender for Anime of The Year, but as I said at the very beginning of this review, it is an excellent entry point for anyone wanting to get to the anime medium. You want to know what makes anime so great? This is the prime example.